Easton, PA | 10 Acres
The R&H Simon Silk Mill was, in its heyday, one of the most advanced and largest facilities of its kind in the world. However, with the decline of the textile industry in America, the Silk Mill was slowly abandoned. The Redevelopment Authority of Easton, PA (ERA) acquired the property and undertook to transform this 15 acre site, with its 22 former industrial buildings, into a vibrant civic asset. As part of this redevelopment process, ERA selected Spillman Farmer Architects to complete a physical facilities analysis and site master plan. In developing this master plan, the team’s goal was to marry the client’s redevelopment goals and market analysis with the bricks and mortar (and topography and geography) of the historical site.
The Silk Master Plan presents a series of six zones or districts comprised of buildings and landscape/open space, including The Mix, an active mixed-use district featuring street-level commercial space and restaurants, with a variety of apartment-style residences; ArtHome, a live/work community geared specifically to artists and offers loft residences with private and shared studio, educational, and display space; and the Cultural Core, focused on performing arts and convention and meeting space. In establishing these zones, the team first considered each building individually: its physical characteristics, its potential marketable use(s), its proximity to other buildings and overall location on the site. The team then considered the compatibility of uses among groups of buildings, the development potential of groups of buildings, as well as potential implementation phasing opportunities or issues inherent in the grouping scheme.
The ultimate vision for Silk is a vibrant, sustainable mixed-use community incorporating and showcasing emerging “green building technologies,” serving as an example of how older historic structures can be rehabilitated using sustainable approaches and technologies, and creating the space for the creative industries to thrive.
“You have given clarity of purpose to the entire property, its potential, and its individual components. Imaging has been brilliantly conceived. It validates our conviction and advice … that the project go to a local firm given the remarkable talent within Spillman Farmer. Only a local firm would infuse passion and conviction, the sense of place and history. The document will win over the very people who have contributions to make in financing, engineering, and construction. …It can serve magnificently as marketing material for the inhabitants who will ultimately breathe life into the completed phases.”
City of Resident and Community Stakeholder